Readthrough-Promoting Drugs Gentamicin and PTC124 Fail to Rescue Nav1.5 Function of Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell–Derived Cardiomyocytes Carrying Nonsense Mutations in the Sodium Channel Gene SCN5A

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Several compounds have been reported to induce translational readthrough of premature stop codons resulting in the production of full-length protein by interfering with ribosomal proofreading. Here we examined the effect of 2 of these compounds, gentamicin and PTC124, in human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)–derived cardiomyocytes bearing nonsense mutations in the sodium channel gene SCN5A, which are associated with conduction disease and potential lethal arrhythmias.

Methods and Results—

We generated hiPSC from 2 patients carrying the mutations R1638X and W156X. hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from both patients recapitulated the expected electrophysiological phenotype, as evidenced by reduced Na+ currents and action potential upstroke velocities compared with hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from 2 unrelated control individuals. While we were able to confirm the readthrough efficacy of the 2 drugs in Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells, we did not observe rescue of the electrophysiological phenotype in hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from the patients.


We conclude that these drugs are unlikely to present an effective treatment for patients carrying the loss-of-function SCN5A gene mutations examined in this study.

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